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Angel Reese Might Lead You to Freedom
On not caring about perceptions you can't control.
I didn’t even realize I was doing it. Every time I saw a neighbor while I walked around the neighborhood, I changed my disposition. I’d throw on a smile and give a polite nod or a verbal greeting.
Not just because I felt like being polite. But because presenting as polite seemed like a safer option than letting unfamiliar neighbors fill in the blanks.
I would have been perfectly within my rights to keep on walking without looking at people. I could have noticed their presence without putting on the Mr. Rogers face. Yet, each time I ran the math, it seemed like the surest way to get back home without having the police called on me for walking in my own neighborhood was to communicate as clearly as possible: I am not a threat.
I am extremely cognizant of the ways that my very presence is policed and regarded with suspicion when I am in public.
And that’s all I could think of as people from all walks of life weighed in on LSU basketball player Angel Reese celebrating her team’s performance (in a national championship game, no less!) in a way they didn’t approve of.
It did not matter that she was engaging in the same type of celebratory taunting that Caitlin Clark—the young lady she was taunting—engaged in 2 games earlier.
It did not matter that Caitlin Clark’s similar brand of celebration was lauded and admired in the days ahead of this occurrence.
It didn’t matter that all of that taunting was cited by Reese herself as the impetus behind her own taunting in this instance.
All that mattered was that a Black woman had the audacity to be free and Black and happy in a way that made some people uncomfortable.
And that made a bunch of people comfortable with sounding off.
The double standard seemed unquestionably racist. And I’m not here to question whether or not it was racist. It looked and smelled racist. I’m going to call it racist.
I am here to celebrate things worth celebrating. I’m not just talking about a basketball championship. I’m talking about a bunch of young Black women succeeding in the things they put their minds to, celebrating their success, and doing so freely.
They knew they were being policed and regarded with suspicion. And they went and lived freely anyway.
This is the ethos that will lead us all to freedom.
Maybe next time I’m on my walk, I won’t worry about how people will respond to me bein’ Black and free. Maybe I’ll take time to celebrate the fact I’m thriving and let people feel how they feel.
Wouldn’t that be amazing?
Sounds heavenly to me.